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Fundraiser organized for Mitchell family injured in Oct. crash

It's been a long road to recovery for a Mitchell family.

But now the family is receiving help from the Mitchell community in the form of an online auction, with proceeds to go toward medical bills that continue to pile up.

Just after 8 p.m. on Oct. 21, the Klinger family — 10-year-old Morgan, 13-year-old Madison, Brent and Ashley — were traveling on I-90, just outside of Mitchell. The vehicle they were traveling in hit six cows that entered the road, and came to a stop in the passing lane.

Brent, Ashley and Madison were able to get out of the vehicle, but Morgan wasn't as lucky.

She had become stuck in her seat belt and before Brent could get her loose, another vehicle struck the car, ripping her from his arms.

"I know the whole thing has been hard on them. They went through a lot that night," said Angie Wright, a family friend.

The driver of the second vehicle, a Salem resident, later died of his injuries at a Mitchell hospital.

Meanwhile, Morgan and Ashley were transported to the hospital in Mitchell with serious injuries, and Morgan was soon airlifted to Sioux Falls for treatment. Madison was uninjured and Brent sustained injuries to his shoulder, which he recently underwent surgery for.

The Klingers have spent much of the past three months recovering, unable to work or school.

Brent, owner of Klinger Construction in Mitchell, has been unable to work because of his shoulder injuries, and Ashley sustained a head injury and sprained ankle. Morgan had a skull fracture and spent several days in the hospital undergoing surgery to repair internal injuries. She was on a breathing tube and had various other injuries.

To help offset the cost of the bills that continue to pile up, Wright organized a fundraiser through Facebook.

"I've seen how tough it's been on them and I really just wanted some way to help," Wright said. "With the accident, physically, emotionally and financially they're hurting."

The fundraiser, which can be found on the page "Klinger Family Auction" began Monday and ends Jan. 25. The idea is simple: Wright posts pictures of donated items and people can comment with a dollar amount, representing their bid. The highest bid on each item at the end of the event gets the item.

With help from the Mitchell Soccer Association, the fundraiser has already been a success, Wright said, with more than 90 items donated so far.

Items vary from gift cards and outdoor items to crossbows and home decor, and more.

"I've never done it and it'll be interesting when it's done," Wright said. "It just keeps spreading and it's great to see that people want to help."